The first week of school marks a significant chapter in the academic calendar, where students of all ages gather again, eager to reconnect with friends, meet new teachers, and dive headfirst into a year of learning and growth.
Beyond the traditional routines, first-week-of-school activities kickstart the year on an energetic note.
In this post, we’ll share some of our favorite activities for the first week of school.
These activities ignite enthusiasm, spark connections, and lay the foundation for a year filled with exploration, achievement, and endless memories.
Whether you’re a new or seasoned teacher, these first-week-of-school activities are sure to set a positive tone plus a feeling of excitement in your classroom.
1. Fill a Time Capsule.
During the first week of school, a popular activity is creating a time capsule.
This doesn’t need to be extravagant; often, teachers use a shoebox, though even a simple envelope can suffice.
The goal is to have students jot down their memories, thoughts, and feelings about the initial week of school, or specifically, the first day.
They may also include goals and aspirations that they would like to accomplish.
These reflections can be written on note cards, which are then sealed in an envelope or container.
When the school year concludes, the students open their “Time Capsule” to observe how their feelings and thoughts have evolved over time.
An alternative approach involves using a shoebox to hold objects that symbolize their emotions, aspirations, favorites, and objectives related to the beginning of the year.
Upon revisiting their time capsule at the year’s end, students reflect, reminisce, and consider the journey they’ve undergone throughout the school year.
2. Play Get-to-Know-You Bingo.
Bingo, a timeless game, proves to be an excellent activity for the first week of school.
It never goes out of style and serves as a fantastic icebreaker.
For this variation, it’s recommended to supply students with a template since it’s more like a “find somebody who” game.
During the activity, students will move around the classroom, interacting with their peers to identify individuals who match the criteria on their bingo cards.
The objective is to complete a row, column, or diagonal line on their card.
While there isn’t a single winner, consider offering small prizes as a fun incentive to encourage engagement.
3. Set SMART Goals.
An effective academic activity for the first week of school involves guiding students to begin formulating their SMART goals.
These goals encompass both academic aspirations and, if applicable, personal objectives for the year ahead.
This activity not only encourages thoughtful planning but also instills the valuable skill of setting specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound goals.
By initiating this process early on, students are equipped with a clear roadmap for their year of learning and growth.
4. Write a Letter Introducing Yourself.
If you seek simple activities for the first week of school, this one is for you.
Students engage in a meaningful activity during the first week of school by composing letters of introduction.
These letters can be addressed to their teacher and/or fellow classmates, serving as a platform to share their preferences and interests.
Students may choose to discuss their likes and dislikes, recount their summer break experiences, or provide any other personal details they feel comfortable sharing with the class.
5. Play Guess the Covered Word.
“Guess the Covered Word” is a super engaging first-week-of-school activity where students collaborate to uncover vocabulary words relevant to the start of the academic year.
The teacher writes selected words on the board, masking some letters with placeholders.
Students take turns suggesting letters or guessing the entire word, working together to reveal the complete term.
Through interactive guessing and discussion, this game builds vocabulary and creates a cooperative classroom atmosphere while introducing key concepts for the upcoming school term.
See an example of how to play Guess the Covered Word.
6. Review Rules and Procedures.
To reinforce classroom rules and procedures with students in an engaging and enjoyable manner, one effective approach is to adopt a format reminiscent of the game show “Jeopardy.”
Utilizing an online Jeopardy-style game, you transform what might typically be considered mundane or dull into an interactive experience that captivates students’ attention.
Through this creative method, students learn about the classroom’s expectations, rules, and procedures.
By injecting an element of playfulness, you create an environment where students actively participate and internalize important information while having a great time.
7. Complete an “All the Things I Love” Heart.
The “All the Things I Love” activity serves as an engaging template for students to express their interests.
This versatile exercise can be designed in an open-ended manner, prompting students to fill in spaces with all the things they love.
Alternatively, you may want to provide a theme to guide their responses, such as focusing on the previous school year, their family, or aspects they cherish about themselves.
This activity serves as an excellent way to gain insights into each student’s unique preferences and thoughts.
As a bonus, the completed heart activities can be compiled into an eye-catching first-week-of-school bulletin board.
Final Thoughts On Activities for the First Week of School
First-week-of-school activities play an important role in establishing the tone and direction for the upcoming academic journey.
Think of them as your co-pilots, aiding in setting the stage for the days ahead.
The activities you choose have the power to ignite students’ curiosity and enthusiasm, making them eager to participate and excited to come to school each day.
By engaging students from the start, these activities for the first week of school will create a sense of anticipation and motivation, propelling students toward achieving the goals they’ve set for themselves during this school year.